Slotkin Granted Dismissal with Prejudice in Professional Liability Action
December 19, 2016
Lisa Slotkin successfully obtained a dismissal with prejudice in the defense of a professional negligence in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, in Somerset County. Plaintiffs, small business owners, sought damages against their insurance brokers for allegedly improperly advising them to obtain insurance coverage which Plaintiffs claim was inadequate. Plaintiffs failed to provide an Affidavit of Merit to Defendants and the Court, despite being required to do so under the Affidavit of Merit statute and despite an extension of time within which to produce the Affidavit. Defendants moved to dismiss the claim with prejudice. In an unsuccessful attempt to continue the litigation, Plaintiff instead implored the Court that the negligence claims against the Defendant insurance brokers fall within the “common knowledge” of a juror, and therefore, no Affidavit of Merit from a like professional is required. After Plaintiffs’ reply, Slotkin proceeded to oral argument. Slotkin persuaded the Court that Plaintiff’s failure to comply with the Affidavit of Merit requirement was fatal to the claim. The Court’s decision enforces the common defense position in similar cases that a claim based on deviation from the standard of care applicable to an insurance broker necessitates an Affidavit of Merit. The Court granted Slotkin’s motion, and dismissed the Plaintiffs’ complaint with prejudice.